Category Archives: Copyright

[REPORT] Freedom of the Internet
Date Created: October 3, 2013  Date Modified: October 6, 2013

Freedom House, a human rights group has published their 2013 Report of Internet Freedom, and being some of the major developments this year it is worth reassessing where we think we stand:

1. Blocking and filtering: In 29 of the 60 countries evaluated, the authorities blocked certain types of political and social content over the past year. China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia were the worst offenders, but filtering in democratic countries like South Korea and India has also affected websites of a political nature. Jordan and Russia intensified blocking in the past year.

2. Cyberattacks against regime critics: Opposition figures and activists in at least 31 countries faced politically motivated cyberattacks over the past year. Such attacks are particularly prevalent during politically charged events. For example, in Malaysia and Venezuela the websites of popular independent media were repeatedly subject to DDoS attacks in the run-up to elections.

3. New laws and arrests: In an increasing number of countries, the authorities have passed laws that prohibit certain types of political, religious, or social speech online, or that contain vague restrictions related to national security that are open to abuse. In 28 countries, users were arrested for online content. In addition to political dissidents, a significant number of those detained were ordinary people who posted comments on social media that were critical of the authorities or the dominant religion.

4. Paid progovernment commentators: A total of 22 countries saw paid commentators manipulate online discussions by discrediting government opponents, spreading propaganda, and defending government policies from criticism without acknowledging their affiliation. Spearheaded by China, Bahrain, and Russia, this tactic is increasingly common in countries like Belarus and Malaysia.

5. Physical attacks and murder: At least one person was attacked, beaten, or tortured for online posts in 26 countries, with fatalities in five countries, often in retaliation for the exposure of human rights abuses. Dozens of online journalists were killed in Syria, and several were murdered in Mexico. In Egypt, several Facebook group administrators were abducted and beaten, and security forces targeted citizen journalists during protests.

6. Surveillance: Although some interception of communications may be necessary for fighting crime or combating terrorism, surveillance powers are increasingly abused for political ends. Governments in 35 countries upgraded their technical or legal surveillance powers over the past year.

7. Takedown and deletion requests: Governments or individuals can ask companies to take down illegal content, usually with judicial oversight. But takedown requests that bypass the courts and simply threaten legal action or other reprisals have become an effective censorship tool in numerous countries like Russia and Azerbaijan, where bloggers are threatened with job loss or detention for refusing to delete information.

8. Blocking social media and communications apps: 19 countries completely blocked YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or other ICT apps, either temporarily or permanently, over the past year. Communications services such as Skype, Viber, and WhatsApp were also targeted, either because they are more difficult to monitor or for threatening the revenue of established telecommunications companies.

9. Intermediary liability: In 22 countries, intermediaries—such as internet service providers, hosting services, webmasters, or forum moderators—are held legally liable for content posted by others, giving them a powerful incentive to censor their customers. Companies in China hire whole divisions to monitor and delete tens of millions of messages a year.

10. Throttling or shutting down service: Governments that control the telecommunications infrastructure can cut off or deliberately slow (throttle) internet or mobile access, either regionally or nationwide. Several shutdowns occurred in Syria over the past year, while services in parts of China, India, and Venezuela were temporarily suspended amid political events or social unrest.

Source

[REPORT] The Google books settlement: a private contract in the absence of adequate copyright law
Date Created: January 10, 2013  Date Modified: January 10, 2013

I missed work yesturday so I had a lot of catching up to do today, this piked my interest because it references Lessig in the first sentence (and we all love Law professors who can internet like a pro). I will give it a more indepth read tonight when I have a bit more time…

The Google Books settlement has been hailed as an audacious and brilliant move by proponents and critics alike (Lessig, 2010; Samuelson, 2009a). Google’s goal of digitizing up to 20 million books drawn from participating libraries has been recast to cut authors and publishers in on the deal. With one comprehensive and complex legal document, Google, the Authors Guild, and the Association of American Publishers have crafted a deal that could transform the digital marketplace for books and could give Google a legal—and exclusive—method to clear rights for some copyrighted works neither it nor anyone else could acquire any other way, excepting changes to U.S. copyright legislation. The following discussion considers the circumstances that led to this settlement and explores its primary components, focusing on the amended class action settlement agreement of November 13, 2009, which in many respects remains similar to the original agreement of October 28, 2008. The settlement makes positive steps in the tricky areas of public access and digital rights, but it remains open to serious legal, economic, and cultural criticisms.
http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/viewFile/29/44

[LINK] It’s complicated: copyright law and chaos theory
Date Created: September 12, 2012  Date Modified: September 12, 2012

Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice – Advance Access

via It's complicated: copyright law and chaos theory.

Essay: Digital Distribution
Date Created: September 16, 2011  Date Modified: September 21, 2012

READERS NOTE: This is my original work was originally posted on my no-longer active Murdoch blog on April 14th, 2010.

I have decided to post my MCC124 essay here on the blog so you may comment and critisize it. Its fairly short of the required 1500 words so I dont expect to be given a high mark for it. Before I paste it into here I would like to share a quote from the song “Evolution” by 311:

Evolution has expontential timing it’ll be
Half as long til the next breakthrough that
blows are mind
It’s up to the people to brave on with
experimentation
Move forth the species by using our
imagination

But can we handle it
Could we dismantle it
Or should we fear the void and just be
para-paranoid
If it’s understood it could be used for good
and would
If you will believe in all we can conceive

Describe the impact of piracy, p2p and/or file sharing on the digital distribution of media.

In 2007 Radiohead, a popular musical act released their seventh studio album, In Rainbows in a way not seen before from such a well known musical, act: They made their album available to download, at a cost decided by the consumer, from the bands website—as well as making a hard copy available to be purchased by fans in conventional music stores1. It was big music conceding defeat in the digital distribution war.

The distribution of media through piracy, even p2p is not a new phenomenon. Video piracy was widespread with the consumer availability of VHS recorders, software piracy plagued developers since programming shifted from hard-coded chips to the floppy disk, and music piracy was no different2. With technological advances come new methods of breaking the law, it must follow then that legislation needs to keep up-to-date with emerging technological trends.

Digital distribution of music was not a new concept for the music industry3 in 2007, the time this white surrender flag was waved. By 2007 the case of Napster was long in the past and Apple’s iTunes store was now five years old. The music listening public had made their choice and it was up to the artists and record labels to catch up—people were not going to stop downloading music, (no matter what the cost?).

Not so much that’s it was the musicians themselves, as most of them shared their voice with the people in the battle cry for digital distribution, Acts as diverse as pop music’s Moby4 and Prince; New Metal band Slipknot; and the anti-establishment political rap group Public Enemy5 had been long advocates of digital distribution; In the case of Public Enemy, this stance put them up against their own label: Def Jam6. The record label, the face of the enemy.

Recording companies were the biggest opponents of digital distribution, primarily because it was seen to undermine their position in the music industry heavyweights, the generals and brigadiers leading their elite squads of musical acts in the pursuit of money and fame. The record companies saw digital distribution as synonymous with piracy and responded with legal actions against its proponents—both those end users downloading music, but also those that put in place the infrastructure to accomplish this.

Sony was one recording company that had tried, and failed horribly to counter digital distribution in 2005 with their DRM software7. People who had brought compact disks legitimately, were the casualties, a root-kit installed on a users computer once the CD was inserted into the optical drive, making the users computer vulnerable to malicious code. It was the wrong approach, for the kids of generation Y, downloading music was seen as a rebellion against an over-zealous corporate establishment8. Punishment for rebellion would only prove counter productive.

Apple, makers of designer electronics, had taken a different tact. Unlike Sony, Apple did not see digital distribution as a threat to their existing business model. Apple may not have had the massive back catalogue of music it owned rights to, but it did have dominance over the MP3 player market, so the choice to embrace digital distribution with its iTunes store could be seen as less of a risk. By October 2007, Apple had secured rights to distribute “digital” boxed sets from 1970’s super group Led Zeppelin9, people would still download music, even if they did have to pay for it.

Legislation was seen as something that needed to be brought into line with the emerging technologies, legislation that was fair to both user, creator and publisher. After the Napster case hit US courts, a “Digital Recording Act” was proposed10. Without a legal framework corporate interests would still look at digital distribution with an eye of mistrust, they needed a guarantee of return-of-investment on their stockpile of music11.

What the success of the Apple model of distribution, over Sony’s DRM failure taught musicians was that the old paradigm of selling music was becoming obsolete, and it followed that the record companies themselves were obsolete. Artists could do away with the corporate drill, and take on their own means of getting their music to their audience. Bands had taken on this endeavor before, as militant anti-government rap group Public Enemy had done. But popular music had yet to free itself from the corporate hierarchy—that was until an internationally known pop band Radiohead released “In Rainbows”, in its first month online over a million copies were downloaded taking US$3 million, from 40% of those users choosing to pay. At an average of $6(US)12, proving digital distribution can still be lucrative for the artist.

What the significance of In Rainbows had to the digital distribution of media was not a technological one, but a larger cultural paradigm shift. Indy bands, and militant rappers had embraced the technology before, but this was confined to smaller sub-cultures. The mass adoption of digital distribution had been proven effective, and it wasn’t until In Rainbows was this acknowledged by anyone from within the corporate music mainstream. This act meant not that the battle lines had been redrawn, but that the war was finally over.


References

  1. Wikipedia, “In Rainbows” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Rainbows
  2. Kembrew McLeod, 2005, “MP3s Are Killing Home Taping: The Rise of Internet Distribution and Its Challenge to the Major Label Music Monopoly”
  3. Sean Ebare, 2004, “Digital music and subculture: Sharing files sharing styles”
  4. Moby, “Napster” 2001 www.moby.com/journal/2001-01-29/napster.html
  5. John Borland, 2000, “Rapper Chuck-D throws his weight behind Napster” news.cnet.com/2100-1023-239917.html
  6. MTV News, 2000 “Public Enemy Leaves Def Jam, Will Distribute Next Album Online” www.mtv.com/news/articles/1427080/19990114/chuck_d.jhtml
  7. Molly Wood, 2005, Cnet News, “DRM This!” www.cnet.com/4520-6033_1-6376177-1.html
  8. Carrie James, 2009 “Young People, Ethics and Digital Media”, Page 53, MIT Press
  9. Apple Co, (Press Release) 28th October 2007, “Led Zeppelin Digital Box Set…” http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/10/23itunes.html
  10. Raymond Shih Ray Ku, 2001, “The Creative Destruction of Copyright: Napster and the New Economics od Digital Technology”, University of Chicago Law Review.
  11. Jeevan Jaisingh, 2004, “Piracy on file sharing networks: Stratergies for recording companies”, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology.
  12. Wired Magazine, 12.18.2007, “David Byrne and Thom Yorke on the Real Value of Music”, http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/16-01/ff_yorke?currentPage=all#ixzz0jlXr4Ley

rms speaks
Date Created: May 16, 2010  Date Modified: October 12, 2013

I havnt watched this yet–it was just sent to me then and Im not on my own system so I putting it here to watch at a later date when assignbments are not all due…

I wish this were the whole interview not just some sound-bites, but Im still glad to have a member of the technocrati here.

if you have no idea who rms is, then check out his homepage or google him.

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